Vintage store signs of a vanishing Italian enclave

Like its counterparts in the South Village, Carroll Gardens, and the North Bronx, the long-established Italian neighborhood in East Williamsburg, with its old-school shops and storefronts, is shrinking.

Eastwburgsignsporkstore

So before Graham Avenue (renamed “Via Vespucci” after the Italian explorer) is swarmed by wine bars and doggy day care centers, take a moment to appreciate the iconic signs stretching from Ainslie Street to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.

Eastwburgsignscafecapri

Looking at the Emily’s Pork Store sign makes me hungry. I wish I’d stopped in for some fresh mozzarella. And Caffe Capri! I love the mermaid crest on the left. This is what the sign looks like without the last bit cut off (it reads pastry, expresso, cappuccino).

Eastwburgsignseconowash

Grande Monuments is a wonderful sign on its own. But there’s a bonus on the side of the building: another sign with the old two-letter phone exchange.

Eastwburgsignsmonuments

The ST is probably an abbreviation for nearby Stagg Street.

Eastwburgsignsmonumentsphone

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5 Responses to “Vintage store signs of a vanishing Italian enclave”

  1. David George Says:

    The “ST” in the phone number was indeed “Stagg,” the exchange that was in use at the time:

    http://phone.net46.net/nyc/latealpha.html#Sterling

  2. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Thanks for the confirmation!

  3. James Ryan (@HeismanClub) Says:

    the Bonanno family ran (runs?) a lot of that area, The Motion Lounge famous from the Donnie Brasco story is on that block

  4. Nice Expresso Coffee photos | Gourmet Coffee Review Says:

    [...] Caffe Capri- one of my favorite signs in Williamsburg Image by *Bitch Cakes* linked to from here: ephemeralnewyork.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/vintage-store-s… [...]

  5. New York’s Italian food stores are fading fast | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] New York’s Italian-Amerian neighborhoods continue to shrink, more and more of the grocery stores, butchers, and bakeries that made the city’s many Little […]

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